Sonny and Cathy Gandee were friends who bought and sold hundreds of muscle cars at our auctions over the years. I had invited them to fly with us to an auction in the southern United States. Just before takeoff from Auburn, I asked Sonny where he got his name.
“My dad. He played for the World Champion Detroit Lions,” he responded.
“I think that Chris Schenkel was the broadcaster for the game,” I offered.
“I think he was. I never got to see my dad play. I would love to have watched a game,” Sonny said wishfully.
“Do you want to relive a moment from the world championship?” I inquired as I dialed Chris’ number on my cell phone. I knew Chris would remember, but I could not remember if he had actually been the commentator for the game. The ringing stopped and I said, “Chris.”
“Mitchell!” Chris responded in his encouraging tone.
“I’m calling in a Citation II sitting at the end of the runway in Auburn ready to go wheels up to this weekend’s auction. I’m sitting with Sonny Gandee, the son of Sonny Gandee who played for the world championship Detroit Lions. Did you call that game?”
“Yes I did!” Chris confirmed.
“Well, Sonny was not fortunate enough to see his dad play. Could you give him a little play-by-play from the world championship game so he can experience what it was like?” I knew Chris’ memory was picture perfect.
“Sure!” Chris obliged.
I handed the phone to Sonny and watched the expression on his face as he listened to Chris, the master ABC encourager. I’ve never seen that expression on another grown man’s face. Chris had breathed life into yet another soul with his classic rewind of an actual play from the world championship.
There is something about encouragement that restores the heart.
You see, it was not merely Chris who encouraged all of us, it was Christ in Chris.
The writer of Hebrews summed up the power of frequent encouragement in this way: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). As long as we are on this side of the grave, we should be ABC encouragers who bring the Restorer’s strength to others.
When you encourage others with a clay heart, you will realize that it is not you, but Christ in you who renews others with encouragement that restores their hearts.
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